Tuesday, April 25, 2017

855 Around the Bend, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park

The Sunset Trail has many twists and turns.  The arrow points to the right but what other option is there?

In winter, you can snowmobile on certain paths, but we are not daring enough for this activity.

"855 Around the Bend, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Monday, April 24, 2017

854 Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park

The light shining through and on the trees on the Sunset Trail is captivating.  I find the undergrowth almost as interesting as the trees.  In the Spring, there are tiny purple irises that blanket the ground. The felled birches are so beautiful, too.  It's a beautiful place to hike or bike ride.

"854 Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Sunday, April 23, 2017

853 White Cedar Forest, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park

The Sunset Trail in the Peninsula State Park, Door County, Wisconsin is one of my sacred places.  I never miss a chance to walk the path and bask in the glorious light streaming through the trees.  I must have hundreds of photos of trees and light!

The path is 10 miles for the long version or 3 miles for the short one.  When our children were young, it was our tradition to ride bikes for the long trail. There is a spot where a sign urges "Parents, Watch Your Children"  at a steep incline, and our kids would always defiantly speed up and ride hands free. One recent visit, my husband and I took each other's pictures near the sign pretending to be frightened.  Those 10 miles seem much longer now that we are older, and certainly not as much fun without the "kids."

"853 White Cedar Forest, Sunset Trail, Peninsula State Park"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

852 Peek-a-boo

The owl family is moving around a little more now that Baby is somewhat comfortable with leaving "home," mostly because of parental or predator pressure.   He/she prefers to stay close to the trunk of familiar trees, and seems to be more comfortable with keeping Mom or Dad right next to her/him. Having these creatures near has been a great way to observe nature in all its glory and to encourage neighborly friendliness, and everyone seems to enjoy sharing their experiences and observations.

Thanks again to my neighbors,  Steve and Ann Gardiner, for generously sharing their photos with me, along with permission to paint from them.

I have been keeping busy experimenting with abstracts and different media.  Trust me, it is SO much more difficult than it looks.  To me, a good abstract painting is not just slapping paint on a canvas and calling it an abstract, rather, it has all the elements of a good painting,  and it has been a very slow process, but I am really enjoying it.  My #1 critic has given his approval, so I feel I am on the right track, although he doesn't quite understand why I wouldn't want to stick with "my day job."  ho hum.

"852 Peek-a-boo"
acrylic - 8x10 in


Thursday, April 13, 2017

851 Under Her Wing

Once again this year, we are fortunate enough to have a Great Horned Owl family in our neighborhood. We don't know if these are the same owls as those who graced us in two previous years but we are addicted to observing them in this fairly urban setting.

There is only one owlet this year,  hatched earlier than in previous years, we Owl Ladies speculate because of the mild winter.   As an "only child" we have observed that this owlet is larger than expected, and more "pampered."  We have watched him/her stubbornly refuse to fledge, even when tempted with a plump, tasty rabbit dinner.

Today, the owl family was driven from their pine tree by a "murder" of crows.  I'm not making that up, that's what a group of crows is called!

Thanks to my neighbor, Steve Gardiner, for the photo reference for this painting.  He has a camera that can capture the owls in all their glory and is very generous in sharing his photos with all of the Owl Addicts.

"851 Under Her Wing"
acrylic - 20x16 in


Saturday, April 1, 2017

850 The Perfect Pair

Soon I will be headed to Door County with a carload of paintings to deliver to the Edgewood Orchard Galleries.  The new season will open in early-May, and will continue until the end of October.  If your vacation takes you to Door County, Wisconsin, please stop by.  Edgewood Orchard Galleries is rated #2 in the top ten galleries in Wisconsin.  I am so grateful and proud to be a part of their family of artists!

"850 The Perfect Pair"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Monday, March 27, 2017

849 Hospitality and Kindness

 I rarely know the names of the refugee children I paint, but here is a little information as ANERA describes him.  "Hossam, 16 is from Homs in Syria.  Nearly 6 years ago, he and his family fled the war and found safety in Halba, Northern Lebanon.  They left everything behind.  Hossam still remembers his school days when he was happy and safe, playing football on the streets of Homs with friends.  Now he says he faces a lot of bullying when playing with kids from Halba.  'Kids run after me saying, You are Syrian.  Go back home!'  But I defend myself saying 'We are all humans and once we go back home, you can all come visit and I will welcome you with hospitality and kindness.' "

Hossam's portrait is part of my "Innocents Project."  ANERA, American Near East Refugee Assistance, a non-political organization in Washington D.C.  helps families like Hossam's by providing shelter, food, clothing, safe water, distribution of donated Tom's shoes, medical supplies, and much, much more.  Please consider making a donation to ANERA.org in honor of someone special, or just because.

P.S.  Perhaps you have noticed that just about every child in my portraits has dark circles under their eyes.  I do not exaggerate the circles, but feel like I must include them.  The children often sleep on cement flooring with a blanket cushion in one "room" of the refugee camp containing their entire family.  No wonder.

"849 Hospitality and Kindness"
acrylic - 12x12 in


Sunday, March 19, 2017

849 Feeling Jubilant in Door County

I am getting ready and excited for another season in Door County.

"849 Feeling Jubilant in Door County"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Saturday, March 18, 2017

848 Teddy, #1 Packer Fan

This is Teddy, a much loved Teddy Bear from the same breeder as my Oliver and several other pooches in my community.  Teddy loves the Packers, and he even has his own Facebook Page!

Monday, March 13, 2017

846 R.I.P. Mahal

I painted this beloved young orangutan long ago, but for some reason never posted it.  His mysterious and sudden death in 2012 made front page news again today, so it is opportune for me to remember him.   Mahal was Milwaukee County Zoo's prize orangutan brought there from Colorado.  I remember it was a shock to all, and today it was published that Mahal died of a virus from a tapeworm which should not have been found in an orangutan, rather a weasel.  The tapeworm has been found in Finland and Japan, but not Milwaukee, Wisconsin so how it got here is a mystery. Scientists are studying this mysterious scenario to find out if this virus can also affect humans.
Followup articles will be in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the next few days.

"R.I.P. Mahal"
acrylic - 8x6 in


Monday, March 6, 2017

847 ...With a Cherry on Top

I am getting ready and excited for another season at the beautiful Edgewood Orchard Galleries, and of course,  Door County is known for CHERRIES!

"847 ...With a Cherry on Top"
acrylic - 6x8 in


Monday, February 13, 2017

Love is a Many Splendored Thing

Need I say more?

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.

"Love is a Many Splendored Thing"
oil - 12x9 in


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

844 Will You Be My Valentine?

A very wise woman,  my mentor, always said it was the kiss of death to fall in love with your painting.  (It really was a tough lesson to learn.)   But she never said I shouldn't fall in love with my subject.  This little angel stole my heart at first glance.

Her name is Safaa.  I don't always know the child's name when I paint the refugees ANERA serves, and the more information I have about each child, the more intimate the painting experience.  I don't know anything about her, other than she is probably Palestinian or Syrian living in Lebanon, Palestine or Jordan, so I just imagine what her life is like, and what it could be when I am painting her.   She probably lives in a makeshift refugee camp where heat is nonexistent.  If she is lucky, ANERA provides her with a preschool to attend, and warm boots provided by Toms, and emergency lights. Hopefully she has the medical supplies she needs and clean water, all provided by ANERA.

ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is a non-political non-profit headquartered in Washington, D.C.  They are committed to providing not only aid to families in the Middle East, but to giving them as much dignity as possible.  These ANERA folks are angels too.

If you are so moved, please consider making a donation to ANERA at www.anera.org.

"844 Will You Be My Valentine?"
acrylic - 12x12 in


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

843 Grace and Beauty

My online class is over and I really enjoyed it.  I still have much to learn.  I will continue to study and will take the lessons with me as I further develop my style and identity as an artist.

Working with oil paints is a much slower process and much more difficult than working with acrylics, in my opinion. I thought I had a lot of patience, but working with oil showed me that I need more.

"843 Grace and Beauty"
oil - 16x20 in


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

842 Miranda, Sweet Sixteen

As mentioned in a previous post, I am taking a Flower Portrait painting class online.  The instructor primarily paints multi petaled flowers such as garden roses and peonies, which are not readily available this time of year to the average person in Milwaukee.  A dear friend's daughter is a flower artist who composes uniquely gorgeous arrangements for weddings and special occasions (see www.milwaukeeflowercompany.com) so I asked if she had any leftover flowers I could purchase.  I was invited to visit and in my wildest dreams I could never have expected to be offered such a large bucket of the most beautiful pink roses called Miranda.  Apparently, her supplier sent the wrong color for the wedding she was working on, and couldn't use them.  They only had a day or two left in them, so I had to work fast.  I am sure I did not do them justice with so many lovely ins and outs of the petals, but I hope I captured the essence of these beauties.

"842 Miranda, Sweet Sixteen"
oil - 14x11 in


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

840 Feisty and Sweet

Another painting as part of my Innocent's Project...

This adorable little girl is a student at one of the 165 preschools that ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) has rebuilt/refurbished in the West Bank and Gaza.  ANERA has introduced new creative ways for 600 teachers to teach 30,000 children who attend schools in Palestine.  The new framework developed by ANERA, the Ministry of Education and others nationally and internationally concerned about education involves a creative approach to learning, just as we would see in most American preschools.  Instead of passively playing music in the background, children and teachers play a variety of instruments, incorporating dance, drama and art.  Play time is very important part of development for children in this age group, and so many social skills revolve around playtime.  At first the children didn't know what to do with the various games that were provided to them, therefore they mixed up all the playing pieces.  With time and effort, they learned to keep the games together and how to enjoy them.  We take things like this for granted.  These children live in horrific living conditions, but I am grateful to ANERA for providing them with education in a happy setting.

"ANERA’s ECD program is built on a comprehensive and holistic vision to provide the best learning environment for children in safe and colorful settings with child-appropriate learning materials and furnishings, sanitary facilities and playgrounds."  

You can read more about the wonderful work that ANERA does for refugees in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan here:  www.anera.org   They also have Facebook and Instagram pages.

"840 Feisty and Sweet"
acrylic - 12x12 in


Thursday, January 12, 2017

840 The Law of Atrtaction

I am enjoying my online Flower Portrait class and here is my first full painting.  There may be some tweaking to do, but I enjoyed the very slow process of it.  The artist who is teaching the course strongly believes in The Law of Attraction and he applies the concept to our painting.   It makes all the sense in the world to me.

"840 The Law of Atrtaction"
oil - 12x16 in


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

839 Practice

With the new online course I am taking, I am making several adjustments--medium (from acrylic to oil), a new palette of paint colors, and a new technique.  There is always so much to learn in the process of identifying and perfecting one's "craft."

I spent a lot of time today and yesterday mixing colors and practicing the floral portrait.  Yellow is my nemesis color so I painted one of the yellow roses and a red rose for the first assignment.   I will try to find white roses or another multi petaled flower to paint for upcoming assignments.  I am enjoying this learning process after one of those "uh oh, what have I done?" moments yesterday.

"839 Practice"
oil - 8x6 in


oil - 8x6 in

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

838 Bloom Where You Are Planted

Happy New Year to all of you!

I received this amaryllis bulb at my Garden Club holiday gift exchange.   I was delighted to receive this bulb because of its unique growing technique---no dirt, no water, just put it somewhere where it will receive light.  Apparently, this is a new variety of amaryllis, and what could be easier?  It has produced four beautiful flowers on one stem and every day is a new visual experience. There is another stem which changes each day but it is now at the exact height of the blooms, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

I set out to paint the beautiful blooms, but didn't want to tackle the bulb, and I didn't think just the stems and flowers would be interesting, so I propped it up first behind this black and white vase, thinking I could paint it seemingly IN the vase, but that didn't please me.  I took a risk with the vase in the background, and despite input from my best critic, I like it.  One of my goals for the new year is to be more of a risk-taker and to not labor over my painting, which will definitely be a challenge.

I am REALLY stretching myself by taking another online class on painting  "The Floral Portrait." After spending several hours over two days reading materials and watching several videos just in preparation for the first class, I have that sinking feeling of "Oh,  what have I done?"  I will be painting with water soluble oil paints, which I am far from competent at, but in line with the above-mentioned goal, I know I will learn a lot.  I will keep you posted.

"838 Bloom Where You Are Planted"
acrylic - 12x9 in